Category: Shoulder Stretches

Entegra Health | Remedial Massage Melbourne

Rhomboid Stretch

What Are the Rhomboid Muscles?

rhomboid stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, a common Remedial Massage complaint regarding the upper thoracic area, involves the Rhomboid muscles. The Rhomboid muscles are located deep to the Upper Trapezius muscles and attached to the scapula (shoulder blades). The Rhomboid muscles comprise two pairs of muscles: Rhomboid Minor and Rhomboid Major; originating at cervical vertebrae 7 to thoracic vertebrae 1 (C7-T1); and thoracic vertebrae 5-7 (T5-T7) respectively. Both medially attach the scapula to the spine.

What is its function?

The name ‘Rhomboid’ is derived from the rhombus shape of the muscles. The Rhomboid muscles primarily function to support actions requiring movements of the scapula/shoulder, including drawing the scapula together, and rotation of the shoulders. In order to successfully undertake these actions, the Rhomboid muscles function in conjunction with the Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae and Pectoral muscles.

What tension related problems can occur here?

Tension commonly associated with the Rhomboid muscles is often attributed to poor posture concerns, and upper back pain and discomfort. Common postural concerns include rounded shoulders, contributing to a forward neck (poking forward) position.

Furthermore, as the Rhomboids are responsible for stabilization of the scapula, upper thoracic and shoulders in general, tension and/or weakness in this area may result in upper thoracic dysfunction and difficulties, including reduced weight or loading abilities.

Tension within the surrounding muscles of the spinous processes of the neck may also contribute to nerve related conditions, including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). Common symptoms that may be attributed to TOS can include: tingling and/or numbness in the hands or fingers, reduced range of movement and/or frozen shoulder conditions, due to nerve impingement by surrounding shoulder structures. These conditions may also reduce circulation within the arms, hands and fingers.

How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in This Area? | Rhomboid Stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, tension related to the Rhomboid muscles is commonly the result of over extension, or overuse of these muscles in a forward head position. Tension in the upper thoracic may also be associated with weakness in the Rhomboid muscles. Common upper thoracic postural compensation patterns are often related to a desk based position, device use and/or sitting positions for prolonged periods of time.

The following self management options may assist to effectively reduce muscular tension and increase stability of the Rhomboid muscles between Remedial Massage treatments:

Rhomboid Stretch

Stretches to lengthen the Rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blades can greatly assist in the reduction of tension in these muscles. For example: shoulder roll stretches, and simple rhomboid stretches (see Entegra Health Stretch Library here). Stretches to reduce tension in the Pectoral muscles in the anterior (front) muscles of the chest may also assist the reduction of tension in the upper back and Rhomboid area.

Foam Rolling | Rhomboid Stretch

Foam rolling of the upper thoracic area may also significantly reduce tension, and provide muscular relief in the upper back muscles, and the thoracic and cervical spine.

Strengthening

Strengthening of the Rhomboid muscles may also assist in the prevention of fatigue and over-stretching of the upper thoracic area, thereby reducing pain and discomfort whilst supporting stabilization of the scapula and overall posture. Examples of Rhomboid strengthening exercises include use of a rowing machine, and hand held weights for the upper back and shoulder blade muscles.

Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.

Entegra Health
Remedial Massage Melbourne
Rhomboid Stretch

Pectoral / Chest Stretch

chest stretch

Where Are the Pectoral Muscles?

chest stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, a common Remedial Massage complaint involving the upper thoracic area, includes the Pectoral muscles. The Pectoral muscles, or ‘Pecs’ comprise four muscles: Pec Major; Pec Minor; Serratus Anterior and Subclavius. The largest, Pec Major, covers the majority of the superficial area in front of the upper chest. It has two parts which attach medially from the sternum and clavicle, and laterally to the humerus (large arm bone). Pec minor is located deep to the Pec Major muscle and attaches to the ribs (intercostal muscles). The Serratus Anterior muscles are located lower, and laterally to the ribs; whilst the Subclavius muscle is situated within the armpit.

What Are Their Functions?

Collectively, the primary functions of the Pec muscles include rotation, flexion and extension of the humerus (arms). They also support actions requiring movements of the scapula/shoulder, and due to their association with the ribs, also assist overall respiration (breathing). The Pec muscles function in conjunction with the Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae and Rhomboid muscles to support these functions.

What Tension Related Problems Can Occur Here?

Tension commonly associated with the Pec muscles is often related to muscle weakness attributed to poor posture concerns involving muscles in the upper thoracic (Rhomboid muscles) resulting in upper back pain and discomfort. Common postural concerns involving the pec muscles include rounded shoulders, contributing to a forward neck (poking forward) position also known as a ‘Kyphotic’ posture position.

In addition, as the Pec muscles function in conjunction with the Rhomboid muscles to stabilise the scapula anteriorly and inferiorly, injury or weakness in the Pec muscles may also contribute to reduced stability of the scapula, and consequently weight lifting/bearing abilities and overall shoulder function and range of motion in general.

How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in This Area? | Chest Stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, tension related to the upper thoracic, and consequently neck and shoulder area, often involves tension (shortening) of the Pec muscles. This is commonly the result of over extension of the upper thoracic muscles and/or overuse of the Pec muscles, often due to actions requiring extension of the arms for prolonged periods. Tension in the Pec muscles effectively contributes to a ‘rounding’ of the shoulders due to the tight muscles pulling the shoulders around and forward.

This common postural compensation pattern is also often associated with weakness in the Rhomboid muscles, and is often related to a desk based work position, device use and/or sitting positions for prolonged periods of time.

The following self management options are recommended to effectively reduce muscular tension of the pec muscles between Remedial Massage treatments:

Chest Stretch:

Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the Pectoral muscles of the chest, requiring little equipment other than a wall or doorframe (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching the pecs also assists in the reduction of tension in the Rhomboid muscles, located posteriorly in the upper thoracic (back) area.


Strengthening:

Strengthening the pec muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the scapula, shoulders, and functions of the arms. Exercises to strengthen the pec muscles include push-ups, and hand-held weights, including weighted lateral flys. The latter provides the dual benefit of strengthening the bicep muscles, and muscles supporting the scapula (Rhomboid and Teres muscles).


Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.

Entegra Health
Pectoral / Chest Stretch
Remedial Massage Melbourne